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Owner: Skibs-A/S Uglands Rederi
Built by Craig, Taylor & Co. Ltd., Stockton-on-Tees in 1914. Previous name: Melania until 1930. (According to the external page that I've linked to above, she was owned by Anglo Saxon Petroleum Co. Ltd., London when she had that name).
Captain: Carsten Grøm.
Her voyages are listed on this original document received from the National Archives of Norway.
As will be seen when going to the document above, Sarita was on her way from Aruba to St. Vincent, CV when war broke out in Norway on Apr. 9-1940. She arrived St. Vincent on Apr. 14, proceeding to Trinidad a few days later. From there, she headed back to Aruba and St. Vincent in May/June, then made another voyage St. Vincent-Aruba, subsequently returning to St. Vincent, with arrival July 10.
Sarita departed St. Vincent again in ballast for Port of Spain - Aruba on July 13-1940. She had been ready to leave early that morning, but when the captain had visited the British Consular Shipping Advicers' office the day before he had been told that unless they could be ready to leave before midnight of the 12th, they would have to delay sailing until the following evening. The shipping advicer wanted Sarita as far away from St. Vincent as possible while it was dark, due to reports of a U-boat nearby, so they did not leave until 20:30 on the 13th.
She was torpedoed in main tank No. 7, port side, by UA (Cohausz) in the morning of July 14, position 15 22N 26 28W (the captain says they were 120 miles southwest of St. Vincent at the time of attack). The engine was stopped and the crew ordered to the lifeboats. The motorboat, which had been swung out amidships on the port side had been thrown on the boat deck and was so damaged that it could not be used. Owing to the heavy list to port it was impossible to launch the starboard boat, so they all had to go to the port aft lifeboat.
They had gotten clear of the ship when the U-boat came up and fired about 30 shells before Sarita capsized to port and sank by the stern. Cohausz came alongside the lifeboat and ordered the captain to come on board with the ship's papers, whereupon he pointed out two rafts floating nearby. They had not had the opportunity to send out and SOS, and Cohausz also offered to send a telegram to the ship's agents in St. Vincent to request assistance.
Both rafts were found and manned with the 2nd mate and 6 men on one, and the 3rd mate and 8 men on the other, whereupon the lifeboat and the rafts were tied together and sea anchors were dropped while awaiting assistance. However, when 3 ships had passed by without spotting them, they all returned to the lifeboat in the afternoon of July 16 and set sail for Barbados. On July 18 they were rescued in position 15 31N 30 04W (300 n. miles west/southwest of St. Vincent according to the captain's report) by the British S/S Dunstan and taken to Pernambuco (note that this ship is listed, with destination Pernambuco, in Convoy OB 179, which had been dispersed on July 9 - external link. She arrived Pernambuco on July 24).
All 29 had survived.
Rohwer does not mention the fact that she was shelled.
The maritime inquiry was held in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 22-1940 with the captain, the 3rd mate, the carpenter and Able Seaman Olsen appearing.
For info, M/S Crux had also been sunk by UA (June 25-1940).
Crew List - No Casualties:
Back to Sarita on the "Ships starting with S" page.
The text on this page was compiled with the help of: "Nortraships flåte", J. R. Hegland, "Sjøforklaringer fra 2. verdenskrig", Norwegian Maritime Museum, Volume II and misc. (ref. My sources).